South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, expresses concern over the federal government’s decision to issue licenses for deep-sea fishing trawlers in Pakistan waters.

Deep-sea fishing licensing policy has been a long drawn out issue affecting the fishermen and fishing industry as well as the marine ecology. Further, the government of Pakistan had begun the process of giving licenses for deep-sea vessels under a policy to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) around 20 miles off the coast in Sindh and Balochistan.

Local Civil Society have urged consecutive governments and authorities to immediately abolish this policy stating its threat to the livelihood of small fishermen but no progressive measures have been taken to date.

SAHR is greatly concerned as this would directly affect the Fishermen community residing along 350 KM long Sindh who have been depending on fishing for their livelihoods for generations. It will also allow foreign trawlers to operate and exploit the marine resources of Pakistan. It is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan to safeguard the livelihood and economic rights of the 1.6 million poor fishermen of Sindh and Balochistan.

Therefore, we urge the government to immediately terminate the issuing of these licenses to both domestic and foreign applicants and take initiatives to safeguard the livelihood of the Pakistani fishermen.

On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,

Sultana Kamal
Chairperson

Mohamed Latheef
Co-chairperson

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